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Tag Archives: Lois Lerner


Lois Lerner got off easy in the IRS scandal. It’s time to reexamine the targeting of conservatives

By Jay Sekulow • FoxNews.com

The Trump administration is prompting a lot of change in Washington. Now, there’s a new call to get to the bottom of the corruption inside the Internal Revenue Service’s well- coordinated scheme to target conservative organizations.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Department of Justice to re-open a probe of the conduct of former top IRS official Lois Lerner, who was at the center of a targeting scandal that discriminated against conservative organizations which had applied for tax-exempt status.

In fact, in this new plea for the Justice Department to get involved, the lawmakers contend there is clear evidence Lerner willfully took part in criminal activity during her tenure as the Exempt Organizations Division director.

In the letter, Representatives Brady and Roskam wrote:

“On April 9, 2014, the House Committee on Ways and Means voted to send a letter to the Department of Justice referring former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois G. Lerner for criminal prosecution. As indicated in the attached letter, the Committee’s nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner. Despite this fact, and for what many believe were purely partisan reasons, the prior Administration refused to review Ms. Lerner’s misconduct.”

The lawmakers urge the Department of Justice to “take a fresh look at the evidence” concerning Lerner’s actions in this matter.

We completely agree. Lois Lerner got off easy. She never faced charges for her role in this scandal. She was never prosecuted. She was permitted to retire – with a tax-payer funded pension.

The Obama administration looked the other way. The Obama Justice Department ignored key evidence that lawmakers point out in their letter to the Attorney General:

“In particular, the Committee found that Ms. Lerner used her position to improperly influence IRS action against conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and protection rights under the law. The Committee also found she impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Finally, Lerner risked exposing, and may have actually disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.”

For years, we’ve been demanding that Lois Lerner and others be held accountable for their roles in this scandal.

We have repeatedly called for the removal of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and now believe this latest request to get to the bottom of Lois Lerner’s actions is clearly warranted – a request that Attorney General Sessions should not ignore.

We continue to move forward in holding the IRS accountable in federal court. We represent 37 organizations in our ongoing lawsuit. After more than seven long years, one of our clients – the Tri-Cities Tea Party based in Washington State – finally received its tax-exempt status. Another client – the Albuquerque Tea Party – has been waiting for more than seven years, too, but has yet to receive a determination from the IRS.

At the same time, we’re encouraged by a new court order just issued in the case – an order that clears the way for us to discover the IRS’s “past acts of alleged discrimination stemming from the alleged illegal targeting scheme,” as well as “the current status of the [IRS’s] tax-exemption application process,” in order to determine not only the entire scope of the IRS’s discriminatory treatment of these organizations but, more importantly whether discrimination is continuing today.

That means we will be able to obtain critical documents from the IRS – documents that will be instrumental in determining how this scandal unfolded and who was involved.

We continue to do all that we can to root out the culture of corruption inside the IRS. But, as I have said many times, the IRS is incapable of self-correction. That’s why lawsuits like ours and Congressional efforts to request a new probe of Lois Lerner’s actions are so important.

Let’s not forget the words of President Obama in February 2014 – as the Justice Department investigation of the IRS targeting scheme was still underway – who proclaimed there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS.

Such an assertion was never based on facts. That’s why it is vitally important for the Trump Justice Department to re-open the Lois Lerner probe, as Representatives Brady and Roskam put it, “to assure the American people that DOJ’s prior investigation was handled fairly and to restore taxpayers’ trust in the IRS.”


Attorney General Lynch: Lois Lerner’s Criminal Actions Protected by DOJ’s ‘Prosecutorial Discretion’

by Joel Gehrke      •      National Review

United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch speaks during an announcement of the arrest of Abraxas J. ("A.J.") Discala, CEO of OmniView Capital, and six co-conspirators for fraudulent market manipulation at the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, New YorkJustice Department officials used “prosecutorial discretion” to shelter former IRS official Lois Lerner from a grand jury after she was held in contempt of Congress.

“I believe that in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, the matter was handled and was resolved,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning.

The administration’s invocation of prosecutorial discretion has become familiar to lawmakers through the debate over President Obama’s recent series of executive orders on immigration, and it frustrates Republicans. Lynch’s answer particularly annoyed Representative Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), who led much of the investigation into the IRS’s Tea Party targeting scandal when he was chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Continue reading


IRS tea party targeting accusations, legal issues persist after Justice ends probe

by Stephen Dinan     •     Washington Times

IRS new logoThe IRS is still holding up the nonprofit applications of tea party groups, including one that has been waiting nearly six years for approval, as conservatives panned the Justice Department’s announcement last week that it had cleared the tax agency, and former senior executive Lois G. Lerner, of any wrongdoing.

The Obama administration’s decision, outlined in a Friday afternoon letter to Congress, said the IRS did mishandle nonprofit status applications from conservative groups but said the bad behavior wasn’t criminal.

Still, the decision does not end the legal jeopardy for the tax agency, nor does it quell the political battle in which the IRS has lost billions of dollars in funding from a Congress that remains troubled by employees’ behavior. Continue reading


Impeach the IRS director

By George F. Will     •     Washington Post

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen faces the House Ways and Means Committee in 2014. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

“Look,” wrote Lois Lerner, echoing Horace Greeley, “my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best. He should [have] let the [S]outh go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets.” Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, was referring to Southern secessionist states when he urged President-elect Lincoln to “let the erring sisters go in peace.”

Greeley favored separating the nation from certain mind-sets; Lerner favors suppressing certain mind-sets. At the Internal Revenue Service, she participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence restricting political activity by, groups with conservative mind-sets. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Continue reading


IRS finds yet another Lois Lerner email account

‘Toby Miles’ account linked to government business

By Stephen Dinan     •     The Washington Times

Lois Lerner IRSLois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business, the tax agency confirmed in a new court filing late Monday that further complicates the administration’s efforts to be transparent about Ms. Lerner’s actions during the tea party targeting scandal.

The admission came in an open-records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has sued to get a look at emails Ms. Lerner sent during the targeting.

IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency. Continue reading


Federal Judge: IRS must say if White House sought taxpayers’ information

By Stephen Dinan     •     Washington Times

IRS new logoA federal judge Friday ordered the IRS to turn over the records of any requests from the White House seeking taxpayers’ private information from the tax agency, delivering a victory to a group that for two years has been trying to pry the data loose.

It’s not clear that there were any such requests — but Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the IRS cannot just refuse to say so by citing taxpayer confidentiality laws, known as section 6103 of the tax code.

“This court questions whether section 6103 should or would shield records that indicate confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information,” the judge wrote in denying the IRS’s request to close out the case. Continue reading


Federal Judge Threatens To Hold IRS Commissioner, DOJ Lawyers in Contempt of Court over Lerner

Judicial Watch

Lois Lerner IRSJudicial Watch announced that U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan today threatened to hold the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and newly recovered emails of Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.

During the status hearing today, Sullivan warned that the failure to follow his order was serious and the IRS and Justice Department’s excuses for not following his July 1 order were “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.” He asked the IRS’ Justice Department lawyer Geoffrey Klimas, “Why didn’t the IRS comply” with his court order and “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt.” Judge Sullivan referenced his contempt findings against Justice Department prosecutors in the prosecution of late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and reminded the Justice Department attorney he had the ability to detain him for contempt. Warning he would tolerate no further disregard of his orders, Judge Sullivan said, “I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally in contempt.” Continue reading


Lois Lerner: GOP is “Evil and Dishonest” and targeting of conservatives was an “honest mistake”

by Andrew Kugle     •     Washington Free Beacon


Former IRS official Lois Lerner said that Republicans are “evil and dishonest,” in a email dated March 26, according to Fox News reporter James Rosen.

In the email, Lois Lerner described the time when she was called back to testify about the IRS targeting of conservatives before Congress.

“They called me back to testify, on IRS ‘scandal,” Lerner wrote. “I took the fifth again and they had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer’s dealings with them.”

Rosen also reported that Lerner said the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling was the worst thing to happen to the United States.


Jailtime For IRS’ Political Hacks

by IBD Editorial Staff     •     Investor’s Business Daily

After a year’s stalling by the IRS, the Senate Finance Committee has released its bipartisan report, denouncing the tax-collection agency’s partisanship and incompetence. When are these people going to jail?

The Senate report wasn’t entirely satisfactory, given that its criticism was primarily in the compromise language of “gross mismanagement” to describe the agency’s targeting of Tea Party dissident groups.

Using legal technicalities to silence and repress political dissent under the color of the nation’s most feared enforcement agency isn’t mismanagement. It’s a crime.

It’s incompatible with democracy and it shatters public confidence in the rule of law. It’s the very crime the State Department is now condemning in Venezuela: the use of legal technicalities to halt popular opposition candidates from running for office. Until now, this kind of activity has had no precedent in our country, and it must be stopped before it becomes the standard. Continue reading


IRS Scandal – Blame It All On Lois Lerner And Move On?

by Peter J Reilly     •     Forbes

Lois Lerner IRSAccording to statements by Senators Hatch and Wyden the Senate Finance Committee report on the IRS scandal (now on Day 818 by TaxProf count) with the snappy title – The Internal Revenue Service’s Processing of 501(c)(3) And 501(c)(4) Application For Tax-Exempt Status Submitted By “Political Advocacy” Organizations From 2010-2013 – absolutely proves that there was political targeting and that there was not political targeting – depending on how you look at it. (Links to various documents can be found here but you have to poke around a bit.)

The Search For The Smoking Gun

Republicans have been hoping that there would be a smoking gun in all those interviews and documents. I mean wouldn’t it be great if there were a taped conversation in which President Obama ordered the IRS to harass the Tea Party. Senator Wyden indicates that nothing anywhere near to that has turned up. Senator Hatch, on the other hand, thinks the smoking gun has been hiding in plain sight.

“Regardless of whether an explicit directive was given, the President gave the order to target conservative groups at every opportunity – the State of the Union, in press conferences, and in TV interviews. He didn’t send a “smoking gun” email because he did not need to – he gave the order for all to hear. And his political allies at the IRS followed those orders.” Continue reading


Lois Lerner’s IRS Granted Only ONE Conservative Group Non-Profit Status in Three Years

by Alexander Hendrie     •     Americans for Tax Reform

IRS new logoLois Lerner’s political beliefs led to tea party and conservative groups receiving disparate and unfair treatment when applying for non-profit status, according to a detailed report compiled by the Senate Finance Committee.

Because of Lerner’s bias, only one conservative political advocacy organization was granted tax exempt status over a period of more than three years:

“Due to the circuitous process implemented by Lerner, only one conservative political advocacy organization was granted tax-exempt status between February 2009 and May 2012. Lerner’s bias against these applicants unquestionably led to these delays, and is particularly evident when compared to the IRS’s treatment of other applications, discussed immediately below.” Continue reading


Senate Report Finds IRS ‘Delinquent’ in Targeting of Conservative Groups

Rep. Jordan says report shows IRS Commissioner has to go

by Ali Meyer     •     Washington Free Beacon

irs-targets-conservativesThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was “delinquent” in its handling of processing Tea Party and conservative groups applications for tax-exempt status, according to a Senate Finance Committee’s report released on Wednesday.

The bipartisan report was the result of the Committee’s two-year investigation into the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

“Our investigation found that from 2010 to 2013, IRS management was delinquent in its responsibility to provide effective control, guidance, and direction over the processing of applications for tax-exempt status filed by Tea Party and other political advocacy organizations,” the committee said.

Republicans argue that the targeting of conservative groups was driven by the Obama administration’s political agenda, while Democrats claim that there was no evidence of political interference. Continue reading


Bad Gifts From the IRS

Rep. Peter Roskam is trying to rein in the agency’s use of the gift tax to intimidate political donors.

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, as they testify during a hearing at the House Ways and Means Committee on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

 

by Peter Roff     •     U.S. News

Even as Internal Revenue Service Chairman John Koskinen has repeatedly traveled to Capitol Hill for the purpose of justifying the continued existence of his agency, Republicans in the House of Representatives were moving to checks its authority, bit by bit but in important ways.

Last week, the Committee on Ways and Means gave its unanimous approval to legislation clarifying the IRS’s authority to levy a “gift tax” on donations made to certain types of not-for-profit groups under the federal tax code.

The bill, H.R. 1104, the Fair Treatment for All Donations Act, offered by Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, clears up an apparent ambiguity in the tax code, making it clear that contributions to 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) social welfare organizations, labor unions, agricultural organizations and business leagues are not subject to the federal gift tax as some inside the agency seem, by their behavior, to believe might be the case. Continue reading


Jailtime For IRS’ Political Hacks

by IBD Editorial Staff     •     Investor’s Business Daily

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill on June 2, 2015. AP

After a year’s stalling by the IRS, the Senate Finance Committee has released its bipartisan report, denouncing the tax-collection agency’s partisanship and incompetence. When are these people going to jail?

The Senate report wasn’t entirely satisfactory, given that its criticism was primarily in the compromise language of “gross mismanagement” to describe the agency’s targeting of Tea Party dissident groups.

Using legal technicalities to silence and repress political dissent under the color of the nation’s most feared enforcement agency isn’t mismanagement. It’s a crime.

It’s incompatible with democracy and it shatters public confidence in the rule of law. It’s the very crime the State Department is now condemning in Venezuela: the use of legal technicalities to halt popular opposition candidates from running for office. Until now, this kind of activity has had no precedent in our country, and it must be stopped before it becomes the standard. Continue reading


Federal judge threatens to hold IRS chief in contempt

Fox News

A federal judge threatened to hold IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in contempt Wednesday after the IRS failed to produce, as ordered, newly recovered emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the IRS on July 1 to turn over Lerner emails on a weekly basis in response to a lawsuit by the watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The lawsuit focused on the 2013 scandal in which the IRS acknowledged agents had improperly singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

However at a U.S. District Court hearing in Washington Wednesday, Sullivan threatened to hold officials, including Koskinen, in contempt for not producing the documents as ordered every Monday. Continue reading


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